An article for the Cathedral Times
by Dean Sam Candler
Wow! So many things went wrong on Sunday!
I don’t even know what they all were. But I sure heard about a lot of them. It was Easter, and expectations were high. Family dynamics were tense. Travel plans were intricate. Hopes were exalted. The roads weren’t working. Children were not cooperating. Taxes were due. Old arguments returned.
But some of us came to church anyway. At church, things continued to go wrong. I heard there was no place to park. Some people said they got stuck in the driveway. Somebody complained that they weren’t being respected. Somebody else said the priest seemed out of it. Somebody else didn’t like something the preacher said. Somebody sang out of tune. Somebody didn’t like the way a reader read. Somebody else said the flowers didn’t make sense. Somebody else fumbled something. “I couldn’t hear.” “I couldn’t see.” “People weren’t nice to me.”
Yes, plenty of things went wrong on Sunday.
But, wow, it was Easter. OMG. On Saturday, I—Sam Candler—had seen young boys chopping wood for the Great Fire. I had heard musicians rehearsing, rehearsing, rehearsing, for hours. I had talked with priests, readers, acolytes, flower guild volunteers, altar guild volunteers, still more volunteers, sextons, visitors, inquirers – all of them intent on how Easter would happen at the Cathedral of St. Philip.
On Sunday itself, Easter, I saw people getting to church at 4:30 in the morning in order to prepare for the Great Vigil at six a.m. I saw children arriving in pajamas, and in seersucker. I saw hats, and I saw bald heads. I saw people who knew everything, and I saw people who knew nothing. The New Fire of Easter was bigger than all of us. Our numbers increased throughout the morning. Some of us had places to sit, and others could not find a spot.
Thank you! Thank all of you who made such a glorious effort towards Easter this past Sunday. I had a glorious Easter with you. Whatever else was going wrong in your life, you came to church and you witnessed to Easter. That walk, in and of itself, is what makes Easter happen.
I had a glorious Easter this past Sunday, because—in the midst of all the things we did right and we did wrong—Someone Else was also present on Sunday. Our God of Eternal Life was present. Our quiet and steady God of grace welcomed us on Sunday, blessing our effort and adding energy to everything we did. God takes our rights and our wrongs, and God creates something else from them; God creates new and wonderful and amazing life.
We—You!—We!—did a great job on Sunday. Thank you! Your energy and verve and faith brought Easter once again into this world. It can happen again. No matter what is going wrong in your life, Easter can happen again. New life happens tomorrow. Welcome it! Welcome happy morning!